Gardner Seminar

Each year, CSHE sponsors the David P. Gardner Seminar for doctoral students who are conducting research related to higher education. Named after UC President Emeritus David P. Gardner, the seminar will be expanded across the UC system for the first time this year. While in the past this seminar has engaged doctoral students from UC Berkeley only, this year we are opening up the application process to doctoral students from all the UC campuses. In the 2020-2021 academic year, the seminar participants will meet remotely.

The David P. Gardner seminar builds a community of early-career researchers in higher education within the University of California system. CSHE invites diverse scholars to make presentations on key higher education topics in California, the nation and the world. During the past academic year, students in the seminar heard lectures from prominent education leaders including UC Berkeley Professor of Public Policy David Kirp, former Under Secretary for Education Martha Kanter, UC Berkeley Professor of Economics Christopher Walters,  and Director of the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education (CIRGE) at the University of Washington Maresi Nerad.

Participating graduate students are expected to present their own dissertation work at the seminar and to receive feedback from scholars and fellow graduate students.  

The seminar provides fellows opportunities to:

  • Engage with a range of disciplines that are related to higher education;

  • Learn from scholars about their current research;

  • Broaden understanding of different research tools and methodologies; 

  • Present their own dissertation work; and 

  • Explore potential career paths.


The seminar meets every other week for two hours - seven times a semester. In the 2020-2021 academic year, the seminar will meet remotely.


Participants in the seminar are called David P. Gardner Fellows. Upon completion of the seminar, they will receive a $3,000 stipend.


Applications for 2020-21 are now closed. 

Applications for 2021-22 should include:

  • Name of UC campus
  • Department 
  • Degree program
  • Dissertation advisor 
  • Projected date of completion
  • Description of dissertation topic (no more than three pages)
  • Letter of endorsement from dissertation advisor (may be sent separately)
  • Indicate enrollment status for 2020-2021

Please note that the number of stipends available are limited. Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible - applications will be considered as they are received.

We look forward to engaging a new group of doctoral students in the seminar for Fall 2020!